In the eternal city of Kyoto, yakiniku is a staple option available at popular dining venues, from the enchanting Ponto night district to the tradition-filled alleys of Gion and dining establishments by the Kamogawa river. Yakiniku, which literally means “grilled meat,” is one of the most popular types of cuisines in modern Japan. A sizzling yakiniku meal is considered a treat and is often associated with special occasions, such as birthdays or celebrations of events. Many Kyoto yakiniku restaurants are mid- to upscale dining establishments that pride themselves on serving good cuts of domestically-reared wagyu beef.
Meat makes up most of the meal, but salads and pickles such as various forms of kimchi are popular sides. The common availability of kimchi and Korean stews is a nod to the Korean origins of yakiniku in Japan. A wide range of standards dips, such as soy sauce and garlic-flavored soy sauce, as well as other original sauces specific to each restaurant, are part of the enjoyment as guests grill the meat to their preference and vary the condiments. Some restaurants provide charcoal grills while others provide gas or electric grills. Covers for diners’ bags, coats and clothes so they can enjoy the meal without bringing the scent of grilled meats with them home, and good ventilation is provided so the interior is surprisingly smoke-free. Here are some restaurants showcasing the very best yakiniku in Kyoto.
Yakiniku is a Japanese meal of grilled (“yaki”) meat (“niku”), and most often involves diners cooking meat around a grill on a table front of them. Adopted from Korean cuisine, yakiniku became widespread throughout Japan in the 20th century. Oftentimes yakiniku restaurants have other dishes that people can order, but the meats and sauces are the main components to a yakiniku experience. The grilled meat is then dipped by the customer in sauce and eaten. The sauce for these dishes oftentimes can be savory and sweet, but other flavor combinations such as sour and spicy can be added as well. The flavor of the sauce depends on the restaurant, and the variety of sauces at yakiniku restaurants can be a reason for someone to visit many of them. Osaka, historically a mercantile city located in the south-central region of Japan's main island, is a place that has many fantastic yakiniku restaurants for residents and travelers to enjoy--read on to discover some of these!
Yakiniku is a Japanese-style of barbecue dining. It’s characterized by a tableside charcoal brazier or a gas grill where customers can cook their own cuts of meat and vegetables. Yakiniku became popular in Japan during the early Showa period, influenced by Korean barbecue dishes like bulgogi, which were brought to Japan by Korean immigrants. Over time, yakiniku evolved into its own Japanese style of barbecue, featuring unique cuts of meat and Japanese dipping sauces called “tare”. One feature of the Korean origins that does hold strong is the assortment of side dishes like kimchi offered with yakiniku—albeit sweeter and less spicy versions have been adapted for the Japanese palate.
The delicious array of premium yakiniku restaurants throughout Japan specialize in Japanese-style barbecue grilled tableside over a charcoal or gas brazier. It’s an excellent way to enjoy high-quality domestic black beef, known as kuroge wagyu, which is available in various regional brands. Tokyo, the capital city of Japan, has access to all of the finest kuroge wagyu from across the country, making it by far the best city for experiencing top yakiniku dining. Here are 7 highly-rated restaurants that epitomize the best yakiniku in Tokyo, proving the point beyond a doubt.